Home Institution

Macalester College

Publication Date

Spring 2013

Program Name

Mongolia: Geopolitics and the Environment


Since Mongolia’s democratization and move to a free market, the country has been grappling with the best approaches to deal with pasture degradation caused by both climate change and lifestyle changes of nomadic herders. International donors and NGOS have implemented community based natural resource management projects with the missions mitigating the effects of pasture degradation and livelihoods of herding families through building capacity. While studies have been done regarding the effectiveness of these community based conservation projects, minimal research has been done to understand how the traditions, values, and culture of Mongolia herders affect the success of these pastureland conservation programs.

This three-week study examines the uniquely Mongolian challenges of implementing community based natural resource management of pasturelands in the light of current theory on resilience. Conducting 31 interviews with development officials, government members, and herders, along with performing participant observation, I examine the values and thoughts of Mongolians and the influences they these characteristics have on one of Green Gold Ecosystem Pasture Ecosystem Management Project’s Pasture User Group community in Arkhangai aimag.

Through preliminary interviews I discovering that Mongolian mentality is difficult to define, so I broadened my study to examine the mentality many Mongolian have and isolate a list of characteristics that were applicable to group formation in this case study .Because of the limited role this program had in the community, I examined the values that prevented resilient group formation, isolating the following factors: kinship ties; independence and apathy; respect for the environment; money and success.


Civic and Community Engagement | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sustainability


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